Published March 8, 2024 | Version 1.0
Report Open

Women inspiring women: International Women's Day 2024


English version | Version française

This publication, titled “Women Inspiring Women”, is a special report released by the Geneva Learning Foundation to celebrate International Women’s Day 2024. It compiles insightful stories, advice and personal experiences shared by 177 women working in health and humanitarian fields across the Global South.

Read the press release: Women inspiring women: Stories shared by women who work for health, for their daughters and young women

Use these links to share “Women inspiring women” on WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter/X, Telegram

The report provides a unique window into the motivations, challenges and hopes of female health workers and humanitarians. Through their candid accounts, the women offer guidance to the next generation considering careers in these sectors. They discuss the attributes needed for success, like passion, empathy, resilience and lifelong learning. They also highlight challenges, such as educational barriers and gender inequality.

Beyond offering words of wisdom to their daughters and other young women, the contributors reflect on the broader changes needed to enable more women to enter and thrive in health and humanitarian careers. They call for greater investments in girls' education, expanded career opportunities, and proactive efforts to dismantle gender barriers.

“Women Inspiring Women” is a testament to the critical role women play in health and humanitarian action globally, and their potential as changemakers, from the community level to leadership roles. It’s an inspiring read for anyone interested in gender equality, global health and humanitarian issues. The diverse voices from Africa, Asia and Latin America provide rare insights into the lives of women driving change. For young women contemplating their career paths and purpose, this report provides authentic advice and inspiring role models. Ultimately, it carries an empowering message about the power of women to build a healthier, more hopeful future.

Selected quotes

“Empowered women empower women. Ever since you were born, I kept you with me in all my philanthropic activities. […] I wish you all the blessings, happiness and success in life. Someday, you will write a similar letter to your own daughter saying, ‘Empowered women empower women'.” - Dr Faiza Rabbani, Public health specialist (MPH), Lahore District, Punjab Province, Pakistan

“Resilience and determination in the face of difficulties will be essential–it is vital not to be deterred or discouraged when faced with setbacks of adversity, which are an inevitability in these spheres. Health or humanitarian work is all about people. There may be days where you question your decision and that is where determination keeps you going.” - Genise Pascal-Ferrer Iglesias, Coordinator of Imaging Services, Goodwill, Dominica

“Insist on making generational impact as a woman against ALL odds! Don’t give up, don’t give in, don’t give way! Persistence wears out resistance! This is my success story today as I battled many challenges to establish rotavirus surveillance in my country as well as rotavirus vaccine introduction advocacy which has finally culminated in the vaccine introduction in Nigeria.” - Professor Beckie Tagbo, Doctor, Institute of Child Health, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Nigeria

“Serving humanity as a health or humanitarian worker is one of the most rewarding careers one can engage in. Though it requires a lot of hard work more importantly and what is usually not thought about is the heart work it involves. The ability to empathize with the sick and those in humanitarian needs is a key ingredient for success.” - Ngozi Kennedy MB ChB, MPH, Public health specialist (MPH), Ethiopia

“In a world of war, disease, and a worsening climate, literacy is vital for the next generation of women and girls to make better choices concerning health, marriage, and income. Literacy is key in transforming households out of poverty, no matter who they are or where they are born.” - Hauwa Abbas, Public health specialist (MPH), Nigeria


Women inspiring women.Listening and learning report 8.10.5281_zenodo.10783218.pdf